What to Know About Getting a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a crucial part to the home buying experience. This is where you really get to know the ins and outs and details of your investment. Not having a home inspection is like buying 1/2 million dollars with of stock you know nothing about. It might look good on the surface, but if there are some major problems internally, you'll only find those out with a home inspection.
In Florida, most buyers will look for an inspector that performs a four-point inspection. This includes a review of the heating and cooling or HVAC systems, electrical panel and wiring, plumbing, and the roof. You can also request a full home inspection which may also cover asbestos, lead paint, and pest inspections.
When do you need more than the four-point inspection?
If you're making a large investment and plan to occupy the home soon, you may need an additional inspection. Plus, your inspector may recommend an additional inspection, especially if the property is on a septic, has an oil tank, or some other unusual situation.
When to have an inspection done?
When you submit a purchase and sale offer it will include the contingency for a home inspection. While this contingency can be waived and in certain situations might be the leverage you need in order to get the home, we don't recommend it. Once mutual acceptance has occurred, meeting both buyer and seller agree to the offer, the buyer will have about seven days to schedule a home inspection. The buyer is free to use whomever they want but most buyer's agents will have recommendations and referrals that they trust. Buyers pay the inspector on-site and out-of-pocket. This is one of the only fees that cannot be combined with most closing costs. Inspection fees can range anywhere from $300-$800 depending on the size of property and the type of inspection.
The inspection process.
It's always a good idea to accompany the inspector throughout the property asking questions and gaining insight to your new home. This is a great way to find out all the little details of your property that might not be on the report. Inspectors can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on the magnitude of the job. Asking questions about the longevity of appliances or the integrity of materials is a great way to secure your investment.
The inspection report
Once the inspection is completed you may or may not receive the inspection report right away. Inspector may need to run up a report and then either email or mail you the report. Typically, inspectors will email the report to the buyer's agent and the buyer for easy handling and review.
What to do with the inspection.
The buyer and the buyer's agent will go over the inspection to see if there are any major red flags or areas of concern. Major hazards such as a leaky roof, faulty wiring, unpermitted work or out-of-code situations may need to be addressed before you finalize but again, it is up to the buyer. However, in certain situations, lenders may not loan money on homes that are uninhabitable, meaning certain situations may need to be replaced before it can be occupied. Buyers need to determine issues that are deal-breakers and things they can tolerate. Typically anything under $100 should be disregarded and anything hazardous, should be taken care of by the seller. A good rule of thumb is if you ask for everything, you may get nothing. Sellers don't have to complete anything on the inspection report but they also know that refusal to do so means their home will go back on the market.
The inspection report contingency will go back and forth until both buyer and seller agree to all of the requirements. Once the document is signed, sellers will have until the home closes or the final walk-through to complete any and all repairs or replacements. Credit can be adjusted or the price of the home can be adjusted based the number of repairs but this can get a little tricky and it's best to negotiate between the buyer and the seller through the agents.
Florida-specific inspection rules.
It is illegal for home inspectors to call out issues on a home and also remedy them as well as being a huge conflict of interest. The only exception is the wood destroying organisms inspection and remediation. Some inspectors may also have pest control businesses but should be very wary of any and all inspectors that say they can actually do the inspection and repair.
Home inspectors main job is to point out maintenance items, regular defects, and any safety hazards. Obviously, homes have general wear and tear and just because there's a lot of items on a home inspection report doesn't mean the home is necessarily a money pit. This is why it is important to accompany the inspector throughout the inspection asking questions about the severity of any issues.
For more information on home inspectors and Florida home inspections, feel free to contact me at any time.